A little over a month ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were the darlings of the NFL, from media and fan perspectives. Their long-awaited postseason win drought was not only over after 31 years, the team was also the biggest underdog story in sports prior to St. Peter’s becoming the darlings of March Madness.
Cincinnati failed in its third attempt to win a Super Bowl, but it appeared they gained a ton of respect along the way. The Bengals looked like a team that could challenge for the AFC Championship again next season. But have the good vibes and enthusiasm surrounding the Bengals evaporated already?
The Cincinnati Bengals are being overlooked by NFL Oddsmakers.
A lower place than among the Super Bowl 57 favorites.
Eight teams in NFL history, and one in the last 28 years, have returned to the Super Bowl the following season after losing. Vegas seems to be well aware of the trend of futility. The bookmakers apparently aren’t convinced the beloved Bengals of January 2022 are a prime contender to win Super Bowl 57. The latest futures odds from Caesars Sportsbook don’t have the Bengals top 10 to win Super Bowl 57.
They are tied with the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens at +2500. The Bengals are tied with the Ravens for the sixth-best odds to win the AFC at +1200.
The Bengals haven’t gotten worse since their Super Bowl loss. Their biggest weakness to address was the offensive line, and they did so in stellar fashion, with three significant free-agent additions, including the latest addition of tackle La’El Collins. The team did not have any major losses in free agency, either.
It seems like these Bengals have a good chance to get back to the AFC Championship Game again and possibly the Super Bowl, considering that the explosive offense will remain mostly intact and the blocking has already improved. There are some tweaks needed on the defense, but overall, the roster is certainly good enough to ensure that Cincinnati remains a contender if many of the key performers stay healthy.
Where the Cincinnati Bengals are found in the AFC odds
The Bills (+400) and the Chiefs (+450) are the favorites to win the AFC. That is no surprise, especially with Buffalo adding Von Miller and the Chiefs acquiring JuJu Smith-Schuster. The AFC road to the Super Bowl goes through Kansas City, anyhow. The Broncos are third at +850 after acquiring Russell Wilson.
The former Seahawks QB has not advanced his team to a conference championship game in the past seven seasons. Plus, you could give Cincinnati the full advantage over Denver at running back and wide receiver. Denver may be better defensively, but these teams don’t seem too far apart in terms of conference winning championship potential.
The Chargers are also at +850, and their defense looks fearsome, but their starting QB has no playoff experience. The Browns are at +900 after acquiring Deshaun Watson.
He will certainly have a better shot to win playoff games than he did in Houston, but the fact is, he still has to prove it. Watson has one career playoff win. Baltimore is even with Cincinnati at +1200 to win the AFC, but Lamar Jackson has certainly not shown he is capable of leading a team on a deep playoff run yet. The Bengals are at the exact same odds after winning the AFC Championship last season.
We certainly are not judging these other AFC teams purely by the quarterback position only, and any of the other AFC contenders positioned ahead of Cincinnati could make a good run to a conference title.
What about the Bengals compared to the NFC?
But haven’t the Bengals earned more respect in terms of being a favorite?
You could make a good case their odds should at least match those of Denver and Los Angeles. Plus, the Bengals are tied with the Titans in the odds to win Super Bowl 57. Yes, the Titans acquired Robert Woods, but there is no way I would give any team led by Ryan Tannehill the same projected chances as the defending AFC champions.
Among the NFC teams ahead of Cincinnati in current odds to win Super Bowl 57 is San Francisco at +1400. The 49ers should not be so far ahead of the Bengals considering they’ll be starting an inexperienced quarterback next season. Of all the teams in the top 10 odds, the Niners have the shakiest outlook at the most important position.
The most head-scratching team to actually be ahead of the Bengals is the Dallas Cowboys at +1800. Dallas may have actually gotten worse this offseason with some of their key personnel losses in free agency. The Cowboys have won one playoff game in the last seven years and lost in the Wild Card last season.
Place a bet on the Bengals right now
You could indeed make very good cases that the odds for many of the teams ahead of the Bengals deserve those projected outlooks to win the AFC or Super Bowl 57. But I would certainly take Cincinnati over Baltimore, Tennessee, or Dallas.
That said, the Bengals are a good value in NFL futures right now to win the AFC/Super Bowl next season. We recommend strongly considering such wagers right now, especially on the odds to win the AFC Championship again.
It is a knee-jerk reaction when many NFL observers make predictions on the next season based on a past one. The current state of the Cincinnati roster, however, showcases the Bengals are certainly capable of contending for the conference.
Be sure to check out more from me on Twitter and all content on The Gameday NFL. Also, be sure to check out all of the other content from ATB.